Singapore: Property agent fined, suspended for duping elderly couple

A property agent from Singapore has been fined and suspended for eleven months after CEA discovered that he had failed to maintain transparency in a deal with an elderly couple.

Cromwell Property Group
Cromwell Property Group website

A property agent in Singapore has been fined S$6000 and suspended for misconduct as he failed to follow the Council for Estate Agencies' (CEA) Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care while he was helping an elderly couple sell their Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat.

CEA's disciplinary committee said in a media release on September 22 that Ng Ser Leong, a property agent from PropNex Realty has been suspended for 7 months and 4 months for each charge. The suspension period will begin from October 19, 2017.

The elderly woman involved in the deal is uneducated and suffering from advanced dementia. She is currently residing in a special home for dementia patients. The elderly man has hearing problems and majorly understands Cantonese. Investigations by CEA showed that the agent had not ensured full awareness of his client before proceeding with the deal.

Ng had obtained thumbprints of the elderly female on the estate agency agreement by visiting her at home. Other necessary details in the form, such as the date, purchase price, and buyer's name were blank. Additionally, no documents or photocopies were provided to the elderly couple.

The agent also did not bother to keep the couple involved in the sale proceedings, completely severing contact after obtaining the thumbprints.

The couple's children found out about the sale after the man had a fall and went to the hospital. They immediately aborted the sale.

The couple's two sons, along with a prospective buyer, filed legal complaints against Ng Ser Leong. The buyer had, at that time, already signed an Option to Purchase for the flat.

Ng has pleaded guilty to charges of not conducting business with diligence and obtaining signatures on an agreement without filling out the important details. Four other charges against him were also recorded by the court.